4000 Series Course Descriptions (Victorian and Romantic Literature)

ENG4405HF L0101*

Genres of the Victorian Novel

Jaffe, A. 

Course Description:        

Beginning with George Eliot’s idea for a new kind of realism, and taking as a given that there is no pure “genre,” we will discuss the nature and interaction of those constructions understood as genres both within and between Victorian novels (such as realism; sensation fiction; Gothic and melodrama), and some non-novelistic ones, such as non-fiction prose and (again) melodrama; we will also look at the role of the critical establishment in producing and policing such distinctions, and the role of theory and criticism more generally in discussions of genre.

Course Reading List:            

A provisional list of primary authors includes: Eliot, Dickens, Collins; critical/theoretical work by (among others) Jacques Derrida, Ian Duncan, Adena Rosmarin, Carolyn Williams, Rachel Bowlby.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements: 

  • Regular, active participation, 20%;
  • class seminar/presentation, 20%;
  • research paper, 60%.

Term: F-TERM (September 2023 to December 2023)
Date/Time: Tuesday / 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm  (2 hours) 
Delivery: In-Person 

* revised course code Feb 2023


ENG4662HS    L0101    

Romantic Memory    

Weisman, K.    

Course Description:  

We are currently in the midst of a resurgence of memory studies, a field that crosses many disciplines and methodological approaches. Memory has always been one of the central motifs of Romanticism, and it has recently become a subject engaged anew by Romantic theorists. The historical and conceptual study of memory affords opportunity to interrogate the aesthetic, political, cultural, and sociological implications of Romantic discourse. We will examine poetry and prose that engage with questions of subjectivity and the self; the pathologies of nostalgia; nationalism and the past; and the tensions between history and memory. The perils of memory within all of these foci include sentimentalism, political xenophobia, and solipsism; its triumphs include cultural cohesion and self-identification. We will address Romantic memory in its full complexity.

Course Reading List:

Reading will be drawn from such texts as the following: John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding; David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature; William Wordsworth, The Prelude and Lyrical Ballads; Jane Austen, Mansfield Park or Persuasion; Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater and Suspiria de Profundis; Felicia Hemans, Records of Woman and Other Poems; William Godwin, Caleb Williams.

A NOTE ON TEXTS: All of the texts can be purchased from the University of Toronto bookstore, 214 College St.  Phone:  416 640 7900.  The bookstore can also deliver your books via Canada Post. The University of Toronto bookstore will also be able to help you to purchase the digital versions of the texts.  Please note that I have only ordered physical texts that also exist IN THE SAME EDITION in digital format.

Required Primary Texts:

Jane Austen, Persuasion. Ed. Linda Bree (Broadview Press).  ISBN: 9781551111315 / 1551111314; e-book option for this edition is also available for purchase.

William Wordsworth, Wordsworth’s Poetry and Prose (Norton). Ed. Nicholas Halmi.  ISBN: 978-0- 393-52288-4.  e-book option for this edition is also available for purchase.

Felicia Hemans, Selected Poems, Prose and Letters. Ed. Gary Kelly (Broadview Press). ISBN: 9781551111377 / 1551111373;  e-book option for this edition is also available for purchase.

Godwin, William.  Caleb Williams.  Eds. Gary Handwerk and A.A. Markley.  (Broadview Press).  ISBN: 9781551112497 / 1551112493; e-book option for this edition is also available for purchase.

Charlotte Smith, Major Poetic Works. Eds. Claire Knowles and Ingrid Horrocks.  (Broadview Press).   ISBN: 9781554812844 / 1554812844;  e-book option for this edition is also available for purchase.

Secondary, Scholarly Texts to be Discussed in Class (each student will deliver an oral report on one article):

Pamela Clemit, “Caleb Williams:  The Paradigm of the Godwinian Novel,” in The Godwinian Novel:  The Rational Fictions of Godwin, Brockden Brown, Mary Shelley.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1993.  Pp. 35-69.

Nicholas Dames, “Austen’s Nostalgics.”  Representations vol. 73 (2001):  117-143.

Brian P. Elliott, “’Nothing beside remains’: Empty Icons and Elegiac Ekphrasis in Felicia Hemans, Studies in Romanticism 51 (2012):  25-40

Joel Faflak, “Speaking of Caleb Williams:  The Talking Cure and the Psychopathology of Enlightenment,”  English Studies in Canada 31 (2005):  99-122.

Frances Ferguson,  “Romantic Memory,”  Studies in Romanticism 35 (1996):  509-553.

Amy Gates, “Fixing Memory:  the Effigial Forms of Felicia Hemans and Jeremy Bentham,” Women’s Writing vol. 21 (2014):  58-73.

Eric Gidal, “Wordsworth’s Art of Memory,”  Studies in Romanticism 37 (1998):  445-475.

Kevis Goodman, Conjectures on Beachy Head:  “Charlotte Smith’s Geological Poetics and the Grounds of the Present,”  ELH  81 (2014):  983-1006

Karen Laird, “Adapting the Saints: Romantic Hagiography in Felicia Hemans’ Records of Woman.”  Women’s Writing 20 (2013):  496-517.

Jane L. Mcintyre,  “Hume and the Problem of Personal Identity,”  in The Cambridge Companion to Hume, 2nd edition, Eds. David Fate Norton and Jacqueline Taylor.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2009. Pp. 177-208.

Bethan Roberts, “Tradition,” Chapter in Charlotte Smith and the Sonnet:  Form, Place and Tradition in the Late Eighteenth Century. Liverpool University Press, 2019.

Margaret Russett, “Persuasion, Mediation,”  Studies in Romanticism 53 (2014):  417-433.

Gideon Yaffe, “Locke on Ideas of Identity and Diversity,”  in The Cambridge Companion to John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Ed. Lex Newman.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2007.  Pp. 192-230.

Course Method of Evaluating and Course Requirements:

Assignments and Grading Scheme:

  • class participation 10%;
  • book report 15%; seminar and write-up 25%;
  • course paper 50%.

Term: S-TERM (January 2024 to April 2024)
Date/Time: Wednesday / 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm (2 hours)
Delivery: In-Person  


ENG4750HF    L0101    

Empire of Steam: Romanticism, Technology, and Modernity    

White, D.    

Course Description:

This course explores the manifold, uneasy relationships between Romanticism and technology, a word in the process of taking on its current meanings during the period. We will focus on steam power in order to understand the modes of modernity that emerged from Romanticism’s coal-fueled global and imperial history. From Joanna Baillie’s “Address to a Steam Vessel” and William Wordsworth’s “Steamboats, Viaducts, and Railways” to P.B. Shelley’s “Letter to Maria Gisborne,” and Thomas De Quincey’s “The English Mail-Coach,” Romantic writing grappled with “the all-changing power of steam.” The phrase comes from an essay in the Asiatic Journal, in which the eponymous “Returned Exile” remarks that “the all-changing power of steam has performed its metamorphoses in India as well as in Europe.” We will follow these metamorphoses to early British India, where a spate of speculative fictions appeared, tracing utopian and dystopian futures: H. Goodeve’s “1980” introduces its characters “of all colors and ranks” as passengers on “the Himalaya steam mail,” while in H. M. Parker’s “The Junction of the Oceans. [A Tale of the Year 2074.],” a project to cut a canal across Panama and let steam ships navigate between the Atlantic and Pacific unleashes a flood that destroys the world.

Course Reading List:            

  • Anon., Frank-in-Steam; or, The Modern Promise to Pay
  • Anon., “The Returned Exile”
  • Baillie, “Address to a Steam Vessel”
  • Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
  • Byron, selections from Don Juan
  • De Quincey, “The English Mail-Coach”
  • Goodeve, “1980”
  • Parker, “The Junction of the Oceans. [A Tale of the Year 2074.],” “Thoughts on Flying”
  • Peacock, Crotchet Castle, “The Four Ages of Poetry”
  • Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein
  • Shelley, Percy, “Letter to Maria Gisborne,” “A Defence of Poetry,” selections from Prometheus Unbound
  • Wordsworth, “Steamboats, Viaducts, and Railways,” “Preface” to the 2nd edition of Lyrical Ballads

Critical and theoretical readings by Arjun Appadurai, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Susan Stanford Friedman, Dilip Gaonkar, Mary-Ellis Gibson, Fredric Jameson, Walter J. Ong, Heidi C. M. Scott, the Warwick Research Collective, and others

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:

  • research paper (50%, 18-20 pp.)
  • abstract and bibliography (10%)
  • mini-conference presentation (20%, 18-20 minutes followed by q & a)
  • class participation (20%)

Term: F-TERM (September 2023 to December 2023)
Date/Time: Wednesday / 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm  (2 hours) 
Delivery: In-Person 


ENG4973HS    L0101    

Marx and the American Renaissance    

Downes, P.     

Course Description:
Marx analyzed a "state of society in which the process of production has the mastery over man." At about the same time, Emerson was lamenting that ''Things are in the saddle and ride mankind." In this course we will read works by major figures in the American renaissance (Emerson, Thoreau, Melville, Whitman, Douglass, Poe and others) in conjunction with writings from roughly the same period by Karl Marx ("The German Ideology," Capital, "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,'' Communist Manifesto). We may supplement this reading with excerpts from some recent examples of Marxist political philosophy (Jameson, Balibar, Derrida, Zizek, Spivak, for example). We will be considering, on a general level, the relationship between nineteenth-century American and Marxist critiques of capitalism, and we will be looking-- more locally-- for points of convergence in these writers' approaches to questions concerning commodification, the mass market, slavery, democracy, the charisma of political leaders and the mid-century revolutions in Europe.

Course Reading List:
McLellan, David. Karl Marx: Selected Writings. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays and Poems. New York: Library of America, 1996. Melville, Herman. Moby Dick. New York: Penguin, 2003. Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, The Maine Woods, and Collected Essays and Poems. New York: Library of America, 2007. Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass. New York: Penguin, 1986. Davis, Rebecca Harding. Life in the Iron Mills and Other Stories. New York: The Feminist Press at CUNY, 1985. Other readings will be available in a course Package (UTP) or online.

Course Method of Evaluation and Course Requirements:
Essay: 60% Presentation: 30% Essay Outline: 10%

Term: S-TERM (January 2024 to April 2024)
Date/Time: Friday / 10:00 am to 12:00 pm (2 hours)
Delivery: In-Person